DUP dyslexia joke wasn't meant to cause offence, says UUP's Alex Baird
An Ulster Unionist councillor who joked about a fictitious dyslexic member of the Democratic Unionist Party on Facebook has said he did not intend to cause offence.
Alex Baird, who serves on Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, poked fun at reports that the rival unionist party had held a champagne reception at the Conservative Party Conference last week in Birmingham which was attended by First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster.
In a Facebook post, Mr Baird wrote: "Did you hear about the dyslexic Duper who went to the champagne reception at the Conservative conference and came away disappointed as he thought he was getting champ again?"
However, DUP councillor Keith Elliott reacted angrily to his rival's post, telling Co Fermanagh newspaper The Impartial Reporter: "We find it beneath contempt that a fellow unionist and an elected member of our council would take the time to use the condition of dyslexia to play party politics.
"I have no doubt that many Ulster Unionist members and supporters will disassociate themselves from these remarks.
"I would ask Councillor Baird to either clarify his comments or make an immediate apology to all those he claims to represent and to those who suffer from dyslexia."
In response, Mr Baird said: "My post was in no way intended to offend anyone with dyslexia.
"That is something I would not do.
"It is of note that there was no negative reaction on Facebook.
"Obviously I touched a nerve among the old fundamentalist wing of the DUP by highlighting their party's sponsorship of an alcohol reception at the Conservative Party Conference," Mr Baird said.